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Expository Research Essay

Assignment Description

For this essay, you should choose a relevant and interesting topic to write about in an expository essay. Expository essays help to explain a topic in detail, so their main purpose is to inform a reader about a topic. Usually, expository essays refrain from using personal opinion and rely more on facts. These facts may come from your own knowledge about the topic and from careful research to find reliable information.

Ideas for your expository essay might include: describing the role/function of superheroes in American society; delineating how the meaning of “literally” has evolved over time; discussing the artistic value of video games.

Your research paper MUST include the following:

  • A clearly stated thesis in the introduction that articulates your position and what you want to discuss in your paper
  • Clear reasons with supporting evidence
  • A synthesis of sources; do not simply summarize your source material, but show how they are connected and respond to them
  • A minimum of five credible and relevant sources
  • A minimum of 900 words in MLA format, not including the MLA Works Cited
  • A Works Cited page in MLA format with corresponding in-text citations

Purpose and Learning Objectives

Your purpose in writing this essay is to explain a relevant and interesting topic to an educated, academic audience. You should develop your skills in using source information in your essays and practice writing a structured academic essay.

Your research paper should demonstrate the following learning objectives:

  • Awareness of the audience to whom you are speaking
  • Ability to enter into a scholarly conversation
  • Ability to synthesize information from various sources
  • Ability to craft an exposition with different types of relevant, credible, and detailed support
  • Ability to research and identify academic sources
  • Ability to summarize, paraphrase, and quote while citing correctly in MLA to avoid plagiarism
  • Ability to converse in standard, academic English

Minimum Requirements

Length:Minimum of 900 words and maximum of 1200, not including the Works Cited page. Style: Essay needs to conform to MLA standards, including double spacing in Times New Roman font, and must include a Works Cited page with correct in-text (parenthetical) citations for all quotes, paraphrases, and/or summaries. Sources:Five (5) sources minimum.

Due Dates

Rough Draft DUE on conference date

Final Draft DUE Dec. 13th@ 11:59pm

Process of Completion

  1. Choose a topic you wish to write on—it can be a definition, exploration of a subject or theme, anything you wish you expound on at length using research.
  2. Write down everything that you know about your topic in your notebook. What can you verify? What is common knowledge and what needs a source to prove that it is true? Find credible sources to prove anything that is not common knowledge.
  3. Begin preliminary research to discover more about your topic. Do a basic Google search and read popular sources to broaden your knowledge. Remember that dot-com and Wikipedia are tertiarysources and not credible for citing in an academic essay. You are just gaining more knowledge right now.
  4. Narrow your topic and formulate a working thesis. Then come up with research questions to guide your research. Remember that good research begins with questions, not beliefs.
  5. Begin research using the Richland library databases http://www.richlandcollege.edu/library/. Academic Search Completeis the best database to begin your research. Do a web search for credible sources to include in your essay. Use newspapers, organizations, or government websites. Find a minimum of three credible sources to use in your essay.
  6. In your notebook, annotate the three sources you want to use in your essay. Take careful notes over the author’s claim and purpose. Respond in your notebook. Do you agree, disagree, or have mixed feelings about the ideas in these sources?
  7. Put together an outline to help organize your ideas.
  8. Choose the sections of your sources that you want to include in your essay. Be sure to include a variety of paraphrases, quotes, and summaries.
  9. Write your rough draft. Don’t worry about grammar now; just put your thoughts down on paper.
  10. Put your essay away for twenty-four hours before revising it for grammar and punctuation mistakes. Visit the English Corner for more help with revision or expanding your ideas.
  11. Come to all peer reviews and turn in all drafts. Review carefully your peers’ comments before submitting the final essay to me.
  12. Review your Safe Assign report for plagiarism BEFORE turning in your final draft!
  13. Reread your essay one last time and make any final edits or changes before turning in your final!

Helpful Resources

The English Corner has several handouts that can help you draft your essay. Please see the English Corner website: http://richlandcollege.edu/worldlanguages/english-department/english-corner/handouts/


Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarism includes failing to cite a direct quote with quotation marks and an in-text citation, borrowing someone else’s work without a correct citation, bad paraphrasing (Safe Assign will not identify a good or fair paraphrase), purchasing a paper, having someone else write your essay, or turning in the same paper to two different classes. Any paper with plagiarism, even accidental (I forgot to cite that!), will receive a zero as a final grade. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to cite correctly. See both MLA citation PPTs on eCampus or visit Purdue OWL for more help https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/

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